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The Wake Tech Foundation scholarship essay is your best chance to express yourself and have a direct impact on whether you get a scholarship. While we look at application factors outside the essay to make award decisions, many of those factors are already set, such as your cumulative GPA and your financial need. Writing a scholarship essay gives us another way to evaluate you independent of those factors. Writing a stand-out essay can increase your chances of receiving a scholarship.

Because we know that your time is valuable and not everyone is comfortable with writing, the required essay is very short and specific. Most scholarship recipients tell us it took them, at most, one hour to write, edit and complete their essay. The guidance on this page is meant to help you write a successful scholarship essay.

What do we want you to write?

Let's break down the prompt:

How will receiving this essay help you achieve your educational and career goals and give back to the college or community?

We're asking you to answer three things in your essay. The key is to make sure you've addressed all three.

  1. How will receiving this scholarship help you?

    Tell us how receiving this scholarship will make a difference for you in the next academic year. Give us an example. Be specific!
  2. What are your educational and career goals?

    What are you studying here at Wake Tech? What do you want to do after Wake Tech? What future career are you working toward? Again, give us examples and be specific. Feel free to add details about why this career appeals to you or why you chose Wake Tech specifically.
  3. How will you give back to the college or community?

    This part of the prompt is wide open. We're asking you to tell us about any community involvement, community services and/or volunteering. However, we know that our students are often juggling multiple responsibilities and may not have time for community service right now. For this part of the prompt, you can talk about service you've done in the past, service you're doing right now or service you'd like to do in the future when you're further along in your career. Give us a few details and tell us what it means to you. The only way to get this part of the prompt wrong is to not address it at all!

Keep your essay focused on these three parts of the prompt. Your essay is scored on how well you address each part of the prompt, as well as technical details like grammar, spelling and punctuation. Be sure that everything you're sharing relates to at least one part of the prompt, and you'll be setting yourself up for success.

What are other tips for writing the essay?

  • You must address all parts of the prompt.
  • Write in your own voice! This is not a formal writing assignment. You should be using "I" language and speaking about yourself in the first person.
    For example, say something like: "Receiving this scholarship will have a huge impact on me next year" instead of "Scholarships can have a huge impact on a student's academic year."
  • Essays must be your own work and in your own words. The use of generative AI tools like ChatGPT may result in removal from award consideration.
  • Use your resources! You can receive help and feedback from others as you work on this essay. We suggest utilizing your peers, faculty advisors, mentors, etc., to give you feedback on your essay. Current Wake Tech students are also encouraged to utilize the ILC Writing Center. The Writing Center helps students craft their essays every year! You can make an in-person or virtual appointment, and they also take walk-ins.

What are the technical requirements for the essay?

  • Word count
    Essays must be at least 200 words (about two paragraphs), but there is no maximum word limit. You should write as much as necessary to fully address the prompt. The most successful essays usually are around three paragraphs, or about one page in length. Essays that are much longer than a page have often lost focus and would benefit from refocusing on what the prompt is asking.
  • Names
    Do not include your name anywhere in your essay. So, do not introduce yourself by name or include your name or Wake Tech ID anywhere in the essay or in the title of the document you submit. Essays are meant to be anonymous, as they are scored by Wake Tech faculty and staff volunteers. We do not want anyone's relationship with you – positive or negative – to affect how you are scored.
  • Layout
    There are no requirements for font size, margins or spacing. Please consider ease of reading when making these decisions. Your reviewers are likely reading between 25 and 45 essays, and you want to make it easy for them to focus on your content.
  • File format
    You will write your essay outside of the scholarship application and upload it as part of the application process. It can be submitted as either a Word document or as a PDF. No other formats are accepted, as these are the only formats that can be successfully opened by all reviewers. If we cannot open your essay, we cannot score it, and that negatively impacts your application.
  • Scoring breakdown
    • 70% on content. Did you address all three parts of the prompt, and how well did you address each?
    • 30% on technical details like grammar, spelling and punctuation. We suggest running your essay through spelling/grammar check at a minimum!

Final tips

  • Once you've submitted your application, click the "Update" button in your application and review your responses. You should see a link under where your essay is listed, and you can click "View" to see what you submitted and make sure it loaded correctly.
    If it did not load correctly, upload your document again and click the button at the bottom of your application to update your submission. You can make changes to your submitted application until the application deadline.
  • If there is more than one period in the document file name, you will get an error message, and your essay will not upload. It's very easy to fix this by using underscores instead of periods. For example, My_Scholarship_Essay.docx will upload properly, while My.Scholarship.Essay.docx will fail.

We hope this information was helpful for you and wish you the best of luck with your scholarship application!